Radial Engineering JDI Duplex by Arthur Stone
Background: I use an Ibanez SR500 bass and whilst it's perfect to play, I haven't been totally happy with the tone which was lacking resolution both live and recorded; also the dynamics were uneven across strings and the fretboard. In the mix this led to an ambiguity in the soundstage and I needed a lot of top end to bring definition whilst boosting the bass meant wooliness. Things improved after DI'ing the bass through a BAE1073mpf (which passed through the output transformer but not the input transformer)...the tone was there...a healthy ringing warmth - but still the lack of definition and uneveness of dynamics.
After reading up at Gearslutz.com I reckoned I needed a passive DI - I nearly bought a cheap one, but decided to save up for a Radial JDI. It arrived this morning.
Hardware: The first thing I noticed as I unpacked it was the weight (720g)...very solid; this acts like an anchor with the non-slip rubberised base. The folded-steel design is ergonomic and there are no sharp edges to snag cables. The enamel finish is quality with clear legends; the push-buttons latch well and the insert sockets are tightly secured to the chassis. As the JDI a passive unit there is no batteries or external power needed.
In Use: The weight is a well-judged balance between stability and portability, it's a solid base for the cable and doesn't drag around easily, it's set and forget. I plugged in an active bass (Ibanez SR500) to the JDI input; then a short XLR from the JDI output into the mic input on the BAE and added 40dB of gain (@1200ohms).
I was blown away from the start - it sounded 'peachy' (sorry!). The tone was very pleasant, still the harmonics but no harshness; the resolution of the tone, the shape of it, was incredible...very 3D (and I'm looking forward to mixing bass now); the articulation of dynamics seemed to have been improved too - there was more evenness across strings and frets. Basically it sounded like one guitar rather than 4 different ones.
On electro-acoustic guitar the JDI performed just as well as bass...same peachiness of tone and smoothing of harsh harmonics with added 3Dness.
I tried a passive electric guitar too and was impressed...better than any other DI input I have - the fact that the JDI is passive didn't adversely affect the tone...maybe a little bit darker but certainly full bodied.
'Musical' really does apply here; it's as if the JDI is an instrument itself.
Conclusion: This is great bang-for-buck for your signal path. It sounds superb. Excellent design and build quality. I'd thoroughly recommend the JDI for anyone who wants to improve their guitar tone and resolution.
Radial Engineering JDI & J48